Opiates

Heroin by Mail

The main method of heroin importation into Australia is by mail.

During 2005/6 the number of heroin imports detected reached record levels but the quantity of heroin for each import was the lowest.

These large numbers of small quantities of heroin imports to Australia indicate a change of tactics by international criminals.

The primary source of heroin imported into Australia was the Golden triangle of Southeast Asia but Australia is developing as a target for heroin from Afghanistan via Southwest Asia.

Criminal syndicates importing illicit drugs into Australia are no longer just importing heroin but are involved in other illicit drugs as well.

Heroin prices per gram are: Western Australia $500, New South Wales $450, Queensland $400, Victoria $270 and ACT $210.

Heroin is easy or very easy to obtain in Australia

(Source: Illicit Drugs Data Report 2005/6 Australian Crime Commission)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

Heroin has been overtaken by other illicit drugs as preferred by drug users in Australia.

Illicit drugs that are taken orally are more preferred by Australian drug users than drugs that are injected.

International drug criminal syndicates are changing their methods to adapt to Australian drug users preferences and reducing their risks by shipping smaller quantities in greater numbers.

Australian illicit drug use is four times higher than Sweden.

Lets ditch harm minimization for world's best practice.

Heroin Glut

The United Nations has admitted the overproduction of opium in Afghanistan will lead to a flood of heroin in the world.

The Afghan government has succeeded in destroying only 4 per cent of the record crop of opium which is being cultivated on 157,000 hectares.

Cheap heroin is likely to make its way to China.

Heroin is the main export of Afghanistan leaving its thousands of kilometres of porous borders.

Due to the war in Afghanistan large areas are still in the hands of drug lords and criminals.

(Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May 2009.)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

The Australian Crime Commission has warned of this glut of heroin in the world and its potential impact on Australia.

Australia is a target for illicit drugs due to its high demand.

In order to counter this glut Australia must assist current drug users to cease drug use.

Cheap heroin has been a problem for Australia before and this glut can have a greater impact on our population than ever before.

The number of Australian illicit drug users must be substantially reduced otherwise the harm of drug use will continue to be high.

Mandated detoxification and rehabilitation to get identified drug users free from drug use is cost effective in reducing the high costs for the users and the community as well.

Heroin drought

A recent report from the United Nations predicts a decrease in opium production in Afghanistan.

Opium production in Afghanistan has decreased by one third in the last two years.

(Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2010 Afghanistan Opium Survey, 10 February 2010).

Australian troops help take control of Marjah in Helmand province in Afghanistan where opium production is concentrated.

(Source: Melbourne Herald Sun, 15 February 2010).

Opium cultivation in Afghanistan produces 93 per cent of the heroin trafficked around the world.

(Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report 2009, 24 June 2009).

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

This easing of world heroin production is likely to lead to another heroin drought in Australia.

The effect of this heroin drought is likely to mean higher prices for heroin on the streets of our capital cities.

This means that less illicit drug money will be available for terrorists.

In the past when heroin was in short supply hard core addicts resorted to other illicit drugs to use rather than heroin.

Under Australia's international illicit drug obligations we are obliged to reduce the demand for illicit drugs.

Now is an excellent time to introduce an intensive drug demand reduction campaign with a diversion of identified drug users into rehabilitation to get them clean.

Heroin Increase

Increases in national heroin seizures and arrests may indicate a potential expansion of the Australian heroin market.

Three out of the four largest seizures of heroin at the border were aimed at Sydney.

Afghanistan remains the dominant global producer of heroin.

There has been an expansion in the number of embarkation countries for heroin into Australia.

Victoria continues to account for almost half of the heroin arrests.

Heroin users continue to report heroin is easy to obtain and street prices are stable.

More than half of regular injecting drug users use heroin by choice.

(Source: Australian Crime Commission Illicit Drug Data Report 2008/9 released 8 June 2010)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

As the only injecting centre in Australia is in Sydney this may account for the high targeting of heroin imports and the low arrest figures.

Sydney needs to divert heroin users into detoxification and rehabilitation to get them free of use rather than maintaining heroin injecting.

Rehabilitation programs that are backed by court diversion programs that help users to quit will assist in starving international criminals of Australian funds and heroin users will benefit from improved physical and mental health.

International best practice has proven that rehabilitation is more successful than drug maintenance.

Heroin use Increasing

The latest report from the Australian Crime Commission discloses that the availability of heroin in Australia will continue to increase slowly in the future.

Most of this increase will be in the capital cities of Australia.

Demand and supply of heroin has remained generally stable in the past year.

As all heroin in Australia is imported, the involvement of organized criminals poses a critical risk to the Australian community.

These organized crime gangs are well backed by technology and professional advisors in laundering drug money overseas.

(Source: Organized Crime in Australia {Unclassified report} from Australian Crime Commission released 15 April 2011)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

Heroin addiction is the reason for the resilient and entrenched demand.

Heroin demand will increase because the supply of heroin from Afghanistan is increasing.

Heroin has caused a large number of deaths in Australia.

Sustained demand for heroin makes it profitable for criminal involvement.

Compulsory diversion of identified heroin addicts into detoxification and rehabilitation is world’s best practice to reduce demand.

By reducing the number of heroin users, closing Australia’s only injecting centre and diverting syringe funds into rehabilitation we cut off the money to international crime gangs and help addicts to get clean – that’s a win win!

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THE DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS

More detoxification & rehabilitation that gets illicit drug users drug free.
Court ordered and supervised detoxification & rehabilitation.
Less illicit drug users, drug pushers and drug related crimes.

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